Wednesday, 27 December 2017

☀️ PSA : hello HOLIDAY ☀️

I’m sure you all know by now,  I’m in full on holiday (and sick) mode here at Sunshine Towers but all going well (tonsillitis and snow allowing), we’ll be travelling and enjoying some family time and a mini escape over the next week - YAY! 

I’ll probably keep spamming on social media but just wanted to remind all you lovely beans that orders won’t be posted until the 4th January and Sunshine commission orders will open again on the 8th January.

Thank you for all of your wonderful photos, comments, tags and emails - I promise to catch up with you all when I’m feeling better and we’re home again in the New Year.

I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying limbo week πŸ™ƒ



Sunday, 24 December 2017

364 days engaged! #youremywifenowdave

A year ago tomorrow will mark a whole year since The Beard proposed to me, yikes! 364 days engaged and only another few months before I'll be a wife! HOLY SHITBALLS!

I'm a bit rubbish at writing about personal things, hence it taking me a whole year to get around to writing a little post about how we got engaged but I thought it might be nice to reflect on Christmas Day last year and the days that have whizzed by since... I mean, where the hell has this year gone?

Anywho, here is our 'proposal story', I'll try to keep it short...

Rewind to Christmas morning 2016 and I was ordered to stay in bed whilst Will went off to make breakfast. Now, I'm usually the first to jump up and run downstairs at Christmas so I was a bit sulky about being told to stay upstairs, but when I knew he was making baked eggs with cheese and mimosas I wasn't going to argue! I stayed put with a brew and the kitties and a short while after Will returned with the yummiest, yellowest of breakfasts.

Not long after we finished eating, Will suggested heading down to unwrap presents so I jumped up like a five year old and almost missed that he had queued up a special song of ours to play just as we were heading downstairs.

Before I talk about what happened next, you should know that throughout December, each day I had been finding tiny parcels hidden about the house with numbers written on them and sweeties inside. On Xmas eve I had a slightly bigger one, which was my fave chocolate bar (a Double Decker) and I remember feeling a little sad that my little advent was over.

However, as I walked into the living room to the sound of one of our favourite Ben Folds songs, I was greeted wth two MASSIVE silver balloons in the shape of a 2 and a 5. I can't remember what I was thinking at this point but I saw that the balloons were tied to a tiny blue box with a white ribbon and the cats were pawing at the strings.

As I sat on the floor to untie the beautiful bow, I realised there was a ring box inside and didn't really know what to do. I think I opened it full on gawping and then gave it back to Will saying "what's this for?"

Good one Jo.

Will joined me on the floor and after a few clumsy words between us both he asked me to marry him, I just remember shouting yes and jumping him. We both cried a bit... mainly a few happy tears from giggling too much and in the mean time Pegs was eating one of the strings from the balloons, which was fun pulling out of her mouth, throat and possibly stomach shortly after... at least it wasn't out of the other end!

The ring is beautiful, it's platinum and super simple with a gorgeous shiny YELLOW diamond - I didn't even know they were a thing but they are and canary diamonds are gorgeous, like little bits of pure sunshine! Will couldn't have picked a more perfect ring for me and I still get butterflies when I look at it now... "L for LOVE!"

The rest of Christmas day was spent calling family and friends, eating, drinking and generally being ridiculously merry. I had NO IDEA Will had been planning all of this but apparently he had been thinking about it for a while. He'd bought the ring sneakily while we were in London at a craft fair early November, Mum and Dad had been in the know too as Will had asked Dad at another craft fair we were at in Nottingham the following week and I was completely oblivious to all of it!

That New Year we had planned to go away on a little adventure so we ended 2016 on a complete high after a few nights camping in the Lake District and spending NYE in a little lambing bothy at one of our favourite campsites in Scotland.

Since then engaged life hasn't really been much different, apart from the paperwork and big party to plan, and 2017 has still been a fun-filled year of adventures in our tent (and on our inherited tandem!) and we have made good progress with wedding plans... but more on that later, in another blog post maybe?

Looking back, we have been on some brilliant trips this year from camping and hiking in The Peak & Lake Districts to learning to ride a tandem and clambering up precariously placed boulders in Norway! At the risk of sounding soppy, I bloody love my adventure buddy and couldn't imagine life without him, I think it's safe to say I'm genuinely excited about our future together and all the other adventures awaiting....

Peak District : April

Norfolk : July

Lake District : May

Kjeragbolten, Norway : August

Kinder Scout : August

Fast forward to now... Christmas Eve 2017 and I'm extremely excited about Christmas Day again, as I always am! Although I know last years surprises will be hard to beat we have a fridge full of cheese, a 'bar' full of the good stuff and many other treats to enjoy before running off back to Scotland again for a New Year escape.

I am very excited to be spending Christmas in Cambridge together again and seeing out 2017 on another mini adventure, whilst we wait to welcome 2018 and our BIGGEST adventure yet!

I hope you've enjoyed the mini festive update (even if it is almost a year late) and if you'd like to hear more about wedding plans or any of the trips we've been on please do let me know. I write these blog posts as more of a little diary for myself, but if you do follow and enjoy reading my waffle please shout up and I'll try my best to share more with you all in the shiny new year!

Until then though, thanks for reading and...



Saturday, 23 December 2017

All of the 2016 Adventures doodles... finally!

You know what they say... better late than never? Well, I'd like to share something that is almost a year late. Oops! You may or may not remember, that during 2016 I had started to document some of our little adventures in a new Adventure Sunshine style doodle, I wrote a bit about it in July 2016 here.

At that point I was over half way through the year and had about 6 doodles underway:

NYE 2015/16 : Staying in a tent up a tree for the night

January : A week in Cornwall overlooking the sea

January : 2 weeks exploring Colorado & Utah

Easter : Snow up Helvellyn and waterfalls and Pancakes in the valleys

April : British Craft Trade Fair camp out

May : Lazy mornings and kitty cuddles at Sunshine Towers

Although I kept scribbling after our little adventures and trips away, I failed to complete most of my Adventure doodles for 2016  *sob*  HOWEVER... I've been chipping away at them throughout 2017, determined to finish the last four and complete the years memories in doodle form and here they are!

August : Sea swims & kippers in Northumberland and a trip to YSP

September : Clouds in the mountains and bouncing in caves below

October : Surfing, txakoli and pintxos

NYE 2016/17 : Hikes up Blencathra and hot tubs at Nethy Bridge

It's so nice to see the years adventures in doodle form and I'm sure I could have drawn so many more to capture the odd day trip and jaunt... but I then I may never have finished them! 

I would love to tell you I kept going with them throughout 2017 but alas, I did not. With a more hectic work load this year and quite a few more mini adventures then last year, I just stuck to using instagram... I'll chat a bit more about the snaps and places we went to another time though!

I hope you enjoyed the little update... however late it may be and who knows... maybe I can think of another fun way to document all our little adventures in the next shiny new year... there are a few BIG ones to come that's for sure!

Until then though.... HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE EVE! Eep!


Friday, 22 December 2017


So December has whizzed by, along with October and November... and the rest of the year, and I wanted to stop by the blog before Santa arrives with some very important announcements.... CANNONBALL! No, sorry, that's not it... we watched Anchorman this week, can you tell?

Sorry, I digress... ahem!

The kitties and I have been SUPER busy elves this festive season and we wanted to thank you all for your sunshine love and support once again. I never expected to be as busy as I have been recently and that's all down to YOU! I wouldn't be here, doing this Sunshine gig without you all - from the odd like and comment on social media to every single order, it all makes this possible, YOU make this possible and I am forever grateful for your support!

But it's not just me you've supported this Christmas, with your help and enthusiasm towards some new products, I was able to donate some cash monies to two charities recently, which is amazing!

After a last minute decision to release a limited number of 5 sweary jumpers, Toby Cat was able to donate £10 to Save The Children for #ChristmasJumperDay. Thanks to my sister for inspiring me to make a jumper with one of her fave swears on and Laura at Bespoke Laser UK for turning them around so quickly, these guys flew out of the shop. (I realise it's slightly inappropriate that a swear word raises money for a children's charity but it's all for a good cause).

Don't worry if you missed out though, I'm 100% bringing the jumpers (and ALL THE SWEARS!) back for next year and also considering on making them an all year round offering... I mean everyone loves jumpers and needs them throughout the year, right?

This week I was also able to hop on Pi (my bicycle) to visit the Cambridge Blue Cross Re-homing Centre and make a £20 donation after selling some of my #hellosunshineINKtober cat and dog prints too. I only sold 5 prints (£10 worth of donations) but wanted to match that to bump it up in time for Christmas as they work so hard looking after so many unwanted pets and every penny counts.

I'll be keeping the prints of my INKtober cats and dogs in the Sunshine shop too, with the hope to be able to pop back to Blue Cross again (and again?) in the New Year too. I may have also picked up a foster info pack too... but don't tell Toby and Pegs yet will you?

The donations may be small and it may not sound like a lot of money or a big deal to some but to be able to support myself by doing the job I love AND be able to donate to charities every so often is a really big deal to me, and hopefully means just as much to the charities so again, thank YOU for enabling me to do it!

Today is the last morning I'll be in the studio, finishing off any orders and having a BIG ol' tidy (actually can't bloody wait to have a clear out and clean!) I'll be leaving the shops open over Christmas but NOTHING will be posted until Thursday the 4th of January 2018, so please bear that in mind if you spend any of your Christmas pennies in the shop at all before then.

Before I run off to enjoy the Christmas break, I have one more important thing to say... I want to wish you all the happiest of Christmases and the shiniest of New Year's too! THANK YOU for being so damn brilliant throughout the year and I hope Santa brings you everything you wished for.

I *may* be back with one more blog post before the New Year lands but until then, enjoy all the cheese, all the chocolates, all the mulled wine and all the festive feels!



Friday, 15 December 2017

πŸ›Ž DING DING πŸ›Ž Last orders please!

Hello and happy Friday! Just popping by with a quick reminder for all you UK lovelies to get your orders in before midday Saturday the 16th of December pleeeease (that’s TOMORROW).

The International postage deadline has long passed now but I’ll still be posting orders to everywhere in the world until Friday the 22nd of December - I just cannot guarantee any deliveries in time for Christmas πŸ™ƒ


*skips off with a mince pie in each hand*


Thursday, 7 December 2017

THIS WEEKEND : Crafty Fox Peckham

In what feels like the blink of an eye, it's December and also time for my LAST Christmas market, THIS WEEKEND! Eeep! If you're in the Big Smoke on Sunday, I'll be at the wonderful Crafty Fox Market in Peckham from 11-5pm, alongside SO MANY other amazing makers.

It's been a crazy few weeks and I've loved almost every minute (there are always a few melt downs and ugly cries this time of year!) but one thing is for sure... YOU GUYS RULE! Thank you all for keeping me a busy elf and I promise I'm happy dancing when I'm packing every order that comes through! Here's a to a few more before Santa too... 18 sleeps!

Have a lovely rest of week and I hope to see some of you at Crafty Fox on Sunday!


Thursday, 30 November 2017

It's business time... Small Business Saturday time!

YAY! It's Small Business Saturday this weekend so I thought I'd take a moment to write a little blog post with some links to some brilliant gift ideas, lists and events. So hopefully this waffle will help you if you're looking for some inspiration and lots of small businesses and indies to support this weekend!

First up, I thought I'd share Toby Cat's Pinterest board, which he worked very hard on setting up last week, you might have seen my post on social media but in case you missed it Toby started pinning gift ideas from all of his fave small businesses and creatives to help inspire you all, as well help us small business folk to do more happy dances.

Rumour has it Pegs will be adding to it over the coming weeks too so pop over to Pinterest, I'm Sunshine Jo over there, and you can see what else they pin!

As well as Pinterest being AMAZING at inspiring and unearthing plenty of indie gifts this Christmas, there are some brilliant directories out there too, such as the shiny new 2017 Blog & Buy Sale Wishlist and Crafty Fox Market's Shopping with Soul Directory.

These directories are both JAM PACKED with beautiful gifts and ideas from a bunch of brilliant makers so make sure you pay a visit to both sites with a notebook, pen... and your purse!

If you like to go out and about to support your local shops and creatives this weekend is also the PERFECT time to get out there as it coincides with many Etsy Made Local fairs across the UK. 

"Etsy Made Local is a national, community-led initiative celebrating the makers, collectors and artisans in local communities across the UK. From St Ives to Aberdeen, cities and towns will be participating in this weekend event connecting Christmas shoppers with local Etsy communities."

Read more about the weekend over on the Etsy Made Local site, where you can also find your nearest event! 

This year I will be selling at TWO Etsy Made Local fairs and I can't bloody wait! First up is Cambridge Made's Christmas Fair, which runs for three days from Thursday 30th November to Saturday 2nd December. I will be there with my stall of Sunshine on THURSDAY & FRIDAY!

Then on Sunday 3rd December I will be back in Norwich for Etsy Made Local at Norwich Makers Market. I had such a wonderful time last weekend taking part in their Winter Market and can't wait to return for this event too!

If you're local to Cambridge or Norwich and will be in town for the fairs please do pop in to say Hello. There are so many wonderful stall holders at each fair, who will be ready to greet you with a wave and a smile.

Hopefully that gives you plenty of inspiration and ways to start shopping small this weekend, if you haven't already begun. One last thing before I go,  if you happen to visit any of the Hello Sunshine shops for your shopping between now and midnight on Saturday be sure to use the code below for a cheeky 10% off and surprise freebie! 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Shiny new stuff and where to buy it!

It hit me the other day.... I have been sneaking new stuff in to the shop for the past couple of months and I'm not entirely convinced I've been telling everyone about it properly (other than Instagram posts!) So I thought I'd take 5 to pop all the shiny newness into one blog post for you and also let you know about where you can buy them... online and IRL.

So first up, a mini showcase of all things new in the Hello Sunshine shop, including limited edition festive treats and some brand new products! YAY! 


A pin inspired by my Grandparents very own Happy Camper and my memories of mini trips in it when we were little. Oh the joy to be able to feed the ducks in Attenborough Nature Reserve and then shelter from the rain and have a cup of tea while we watched them play (and while my sister hid from the swans!) 


"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away"

A song and phrase so close to my heart and now a gorgeous pin that I'm incredibly happy to be able to share with you all - I just hope you love it as much as I do!


Eeep! The little Sunshine kitty crew just got bigger... no wait... smaller with the arrival of these super cute, teeny-tiny and very shiny enamel studs! Available as Little Black Cats, Little White Cats, Brown Tabby Cats and Shiny Silver Cats.


These super shiny, mega sparkly kitty cats are here to help jazz up a dull day and make sure you're party ready ANY TIME! Only one batch has been made of these sparkly tinkers making them LIMITED EDITION and only available in Hello Sunshine shops or at events this season.


The PURRFECT accessory for any shirt, these new gold enamel cufflinks will make sure you look the business. You can pick from a little pair of Black Cats, pair of Brown Tabby Cats or even mix and match with one of each.


This little set of iron on patches includes a cheeky bottle of gin with a slice of lemon AND lime, meaning you can mix it up and enjoy a gin 'n ' juice ANY time!


CHIN CHIN GIN LOVERS! The popular Sunshine gin design has been turned into a snazzy pair of silver enamel cufflinks, ready to don the shirt of any gin lover out there.


All the fun of a festive woolly jumper without the itching and outfit clashes! Add a Christmas Jumper of a different kind to your winter wardrobe this year with cute little brooches, earrings, necklaces & pins.


Not only can you grab a little Merry Christmas decoration you can PIMP YOUR VERY OWN CHRISTMAS JUMPER! Add your name (or a loved ones name) to this snazzy Christmas Jumper to create the perfect personalised Christmas treat! The best way to embrace the festive woolly trend without the itching and awkward wardrobe clashes.


Everybody sing it now... "CHRISTMAS TIME, Mistletoe and wine!" One of the world's cheesiest Christmas tunes AND a cute little pin duo to wear all season - now that's what I call festive! Pick up the festive pair for a limited time only this Winter and make everyone hum, sing and possibly dance when they see you sporting them.


"I just like to smile, smiling's my favourite!" Not only one of my favourite films but a quote that couldn't be more relevant to me and the Hello Sunshine brand. Everything here is done with the intent of bringing a smile to your face and I'm hoping the new version of this pin does just the trick again!


It's a festive double whammy! Save some pennies and bag yourself a sparkly Christmas edition camper van patch AND pin. Also available individually and the glitter van pin is SO SHINY!

Phew! So I think that's all the newness in the shop, I hope it's a nice little round up to look through and you spy some treats for your Christmas list - whether it's for you or your loved ones. You can find everything via the little links below each snap or pop to the NEW CHRISTMAS section in the Sunshine shop. 

You'll also find everything hanging out in the Sunshine Etsy shop too so you can browse and fill your basket with treats from lots of different lovely Etsy shops and check out in one go! Such a simple way to shop all your fave independents this festive season!

If you're excited about getting out and about in to the shop this year you can also find Hello Sunshine goodies in lots of different independent shops and galleries so take a peek at the STOCKIST section on the website too. Another brilliant way to immerse yourself in lots of gorgeous handmade products and treats from a mix of indies and creatives is to visit some of the upcoming Christmas fairs and Markets! There are SO MANY happening around the UK and it's one of my favourite ways to sell Sunshine and meet/catch up with lots of my fave designer-makers.

You'll find me behind a stall of Sunshine at the following events and I CAN'T BLOODY WAIT so please do come and say hello if you're in the area!

And don't forgot, THIS WEEKEND you'll find me back at the Handmade Nottingham Winter Market doing Live Sunshine Portraits from 11-5pm. YAY! 

Ooft! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, huh?